This is Malfuz number fourteen of Hadhrat Hakeemul Ummat Mujaddidul Millat, Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullahi Alayh.
He once said,
What we saw in our Akaabireen, our elders and our Hazaraat, we did not see that in anyone else.
Our Akaabireen were such people who had totally annihilated (crushed) themselves and due to being so all encompassing in themselves and in their qualities, they were fully according to this couplet (which is in Farsi)…
برکفے جامے شریعت برکفے سندانے عشق ہر حوص نہ کہ ندانت جام و سندان بختا
Barkafe jaame Shariat barkafe sandaane Ishq har hawas na ke nadaanat jaam wa sandaan bakhtan
‘They were such that they had Shariat In one hand, and in the other hand they had Ishq…
They were a combination of both. On one side, they were staunch and strict on Shariat and on the other side, they were the Aashiqeen of Allah – the Lovers of Allah…
‘Hadhrat Maulana Mahmud Hassan Deobandi Rahmatullahi Alayh used to say,
Despite being involved with Ilm day and night, and despite spending the entire life in learning and teaching Ilm, although we were not able to gain any Ilm but at least we got to know about our ignorance; we got the Ilm of our Jahaalat…
کہ تم کو کچھ نہیں آتا جاتا
Ke tum ko kuch nahi aata jaata
I got to know about myself that ‘I know nothing.‘
So in this Malfuz, Hadhrat Thanvi Rahmatullahi Alayh is talking about our great Akaabireen, of Deoband, our great Mash’aikh, Awliyaa and Ulama, how their level of annihilation was, their Shaan e Fanaa.
The level of annihilation that they reached, that he said ‘we have not seen this in anyone else and truly what a person will find in the Ulamaa and the Akaabireen of Deoband’ especially those of the past and the Ulamaa e Haqq of the present.
What you will see in them, you will not see anywhere else.
No other place was able to produce Ulamaa who came even anywhere close to the Ulamaa of Deoband.
The Ulamaa of Deoband were the flag bearers of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah and they still are. They are the representation of the path of Haqq. If a person is going to follow them, then he is going to be on Haqq and if a person is not going to follow them, then he is not going to be on Haqq.
In this last century, they defined, showed and highlighted the path to reach Allah; the Path of Haqq.
They purified the Deen of Allah and the pristine Sunnah of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam from centuries and centuries of contamination and dirt.
So despite being on such high levels, how they annihilated themselves?
It is something which is astounding, unimaginable and something which is unique to them.
This was the salient feature of our Akaabireen and that is why we emphasise on it so much.
Sadly, this is something which is not there in us…
The salient feature in the Akaabireen was that they had annihilated themselves to the highest level, they had crushed their egos and Nafs until nothing was left that despite being mountains of Ilm and oceans of Ilm, but they considered themselves to be nothing and in doing that, they had made themselves so all encompassing in their qualities that on one side they were Aashiqeen – Lovers of Allah but under the umbrella of Shariat.
They would hold on to both things.
And then Hadhrat Thanvi Rahmatullahi Alayh mentions an example of Hadhrat Maulana Mahmud Hassan Deobandi Rahimahullah who is famously known as Shaykhul Hind and he was the very first student of Darul Uloom Deoband when there was only one Ustaadh and one student both named Mahmud Hassan when Darul Uloom Deoband began under the pomegranate tree in the small village of Deoband in U.P in India.
He got the title of Shaykhul Hind and he was one of the greatest of our Akaabireen.
What a level of Ilm he had reached!
He was a mountain and an ocean of Ilm that to understand his writings is difficult because of his very high level.
So Hadhrat Thanvi Rahmatullahi Alayh says,
‘Despite being involved with Ilm and spending and entire lifetime in learning and teaching, what happened? We were not able to gain any Ilm, although no Ilm came into me, but at least I got to know about my Jahaalat and ignorance.’
In other words, ‘what I got to know is that I know nothing…!’
Look at this annihilation!
This is an Aalim who was the Ustaadh of most of the Akaabireen of Deoband.
He was the Ustaadh of the likes of Hadhrat Allamah Kashmiri Rahmatullahi Alayh.
He was the Ustaadh of Hadhrat Thanvi Rahmatullahi Alayh and so many – almost all of our Akaabireen…
What is he saying?
‘In the entire life of learning and teaching, I was not able to gain any Ilm, but at least we got to know we know ‘nothing’- we got to know about our own ignorance and Jahaalat…’
Look at this…
Today we learn something small and we feel like ‘now we know, now we have got Ilm…’
Today someone graduates from Aalim or Aalimah course, they feel that bow we are very great Ulamaa…
What have we got compared to Hadhrat Shaykhul Hind?
When Shaykhul Hind himself is saying, ‘I did not gain any Ilm but became aware of my own ignorance…’
Today, one small thing we learn and bas…
Our head is above the clouds and we feel like there is no one like us.
We feel like, ‘there is no one more knowledgeable than me, no one has more Ilm than me…’
This is how we are because we have not annihilated ourselves.
When a person annihilates himself, the higher he goes, the lower he considers himself to be but we are the opposite…
The lower we are going, the higher we consider ourselves to be!
It is because there is no annihilation, we consider ourselves to be someone, we think we know, and we forgot our motto, ‘I am nothing, I know nothing, I deserve nothing…’
May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala grant us the Tawfiq of annihilation.
May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala grant us the Tawfiq to walk in the footsteps of our Akaabireen.
May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala grant us the full benefit of our Akaabireen.
May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala bring into our lives the qualities which our great Akaabireen had, Inshallah Ta’ala…
—Hadhrat Maulana Aarif Umar (Daamat Barakaatuhum)